top of page

mid-week Connect: 6/7/23 ~ ‘Laissez-passez’ across cultures

Greetings and Happy Midweek!

And it’s June already, so let’s check out another Word Connect today. We do this once each month to remind ourselves that words do totally connect us cross-culturally and in so many other ways.* I’ve actually chosen a phrase, “laissez-passez”, which will fit right into the Applications component of our Global SKILLs PROACTive Framework, since it takes applying certain skills to navigate through obtaining and properly using any type of laissez-passez.**

A “laissez-passez” (from the French, which means literally “let pass”) is something which allows someone to pass over a border or some boundary, usually circumventing more complicated standard passage requirements.

I came across both the concept and the actual use of “laissez-passez” when I lived in one country (Senegal) and often traveled across borders into and through another country (The Gambia). When traveling north from the village to the city, there were actually 4 border checks to be dealt with, and having the laissez-passez was such a big help. This simple piece of paper was easily obtained through our local officials who we knew and who were happy to serve us promptly, thus avoiding having to interact with border agents, which often held things up for hours. Another perk of having a laissez-passez was if you got stopped by an official anywhere, rather than going through all your paperwork (IDs, international drivers license, car registration, etc etc), you could just pull out the laissez-passer and they’d realize you ‘belonged’ in country!

What does this have to do with cross-cultural communications or community building? I think it’s a great metaphor for how we often can find ways (actual things, or verbal expressions or behaviors or perspectives) to navigate through different cultures more easily and effectively. Making the effort to figure out what laissez-passez might be appropriate for any given situation and then obtaining it and properly using it is definitely a skill to be valued!

How about for you ~ what is one cultural ‘laissez-passez’ you have found and used effectively?

Share about that with a friend or note it here.

And check out the Global SKILLs LINKs below for more on this dynamic word.

Thanks for being part of this Connect community.

Until next week,


Global SKILLs LINKs for ‘laissez-passez’


* Related Connects - previous words we’ve had fun with (scroll down to find these by date): Lizards (2/1/23), Mien (4/5/23), Slang (3/8/23) , Tapestry (1/4/23)

** Through my business Global SKILLs and several partner subsidiaries I offer unique cross-cultural consulting and training including:

3 Dimensional Dynamics Model: 1st dimension = HOME ; 2nd dimension = HOST ; 3rd dimension = HARBOR)

PROACTive Learning Strategies:

PRO = PROfile, PROcess, PROgram

ACT = Applications (which we explored this week), Collaboration and Transformation

~ contact me for more information on this model and these strategies and how you might use them in your current programming:

2023 ~ Celebrating 40+ years of working in

intercultural communications and global community building

“It takes a community to build a community”

Please Note: this is copyrighted content.

Please do not reproduce or share without my permission (

3 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page